Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) and Origis Energy have entered into a PPA for the 27.5MW Ripley Solar project in La Plata, Maryland.
The solar project, which will be developed by Origis Energy, is expected to reach full commercial operation by mid-2019. SMECO will purchase energy generated by the installation for the next 25 years, helping the electric co-op to fulfill its state mandated renewable portfolio obligation at a lower cost to its members.
Once approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission, the installation will be located on 121 hectares of land in Charles County. The project will utilise single-axis tracking technology and will be comprised of approximately 86,000 thin-film PV modules.
The project will create approximately 150 jobs during construction, which is anticipated to start in early 2019.
Austin J. Slater, Jr., SMECO’s president and CEO, said: “Ripley Solar is the third solar project that (the National Renewables Cooperative Organization) NRCO has facilitated for SMECO, and their expertise has been invaluable. Developing solar projects right here in our service area gives us a couple of advantages. Not only are we able to procure renewable energy to help meet state requirements, but we are also able to avoid costly transmission fees.”
Ripley Solar is expected to generate around 56,500MWh during its first year of operation, enough to power about 3,600 homes annually. An average SMECO household uses 1,300kWh a month and 15,600kWh per year.